In Transit


The moving company and Comcast willing and the creek don’t rise, tomorrow night I’ll be in my new spot, ready to get reconnected to the internet. Things have gone quite smoothly, although I have envied this brown-headed cowbird a time or two. Were that moving from one home to another were so easy!


Comments always are welcome.

Seedy Elegance ~ Bladderpod


Despite its unromantic names, bladderpod or bagpod (Sesbania vesicaria) is an attractive member of the legume family. Growing as much as six to ten feet tall, it’s found in the eastern half of Texas, where it becomes especially noticeable in fall when the entire plant turns yellow or gold.

The seed pods responsible for the plant’s common names consist of two distinct layers; an outer, thicker membrane conceals another which is papery, flexible, and thin. Each pod holds two or three seeds, and the pods remain on the plant long after the leaves have fallen and the seeds have been dispersed.

The almost skeletal structure of the plant makes it possible to focus on individual pods as they ripen and release their seeds. In the first photo, the top pod is beginning to release two seeds. The middle pod, which seems to hold only one seed, still is fully intact, and the bottom pod is empty.

In the second photo, the papery membrane has detached but still is clinging to one pod; it appears those seeds already have fallen.


Comments always are welcome.

The Bell

Plantation bell ~ Uncle Henry’s Place, Moon Lake, Mississippi


Precisely when the bell arrived at Uncle Henry’s is hard to say. It may have been installed in 1926, during the property’s first incarnation as an Elks Lodge. It may have arrived later, after the property sold and became the Moon Lake Club.

There certainly is a chance both Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner saw the bell during their visits to Moon Lake. Both authors featured the colorful and storied club in their work — particularly Williams, who grew up in the area and visited the casino as a child — and both would have appreciated these lines by Pablo Neruda, resonant as the songs of the hidden and mysterious Delta.


This broken bell
still wants to sing:
the metal now is green,
the color of woods, this bell,
color of water in stone pools in the forest,
color of day in the leaves.
The bronze cracked and green,
the bell with its mouth open to the ground
and sleeping
was entangled in bindweed,
and the hard golden color of the bronze
turned the color of a frog:
it was the hands of water,
the dampness of the coast,
dealt green to the metal
and tenderness to the bell.
This broken bell
miserable in the rude thicket
of my wild garden,
green bell, wounded,
its scars immersed in the grass:
it calls to no one anymore, no one gathers
around its green goblet
except one butterfly that flutters
over the fallen metal and flies off, escaping
on yellow wings.

Esta campana rota
quiere sin embargo cantar:
el metal ahora es verde,
color de selva tiene la campana,
color de agua de estanques en el bosque,
color del día en las hojas.
El bronce roto y verde,
la campana de bruces
y dormida
fue enredada por las enredaderas,
y del color oro duro del bronce
pasó a color de rana:
fueron las manos del agua,
la humedad de la costa,
que dio verdura al metal,
ternura a la campana.
Esta campana rota
arrastrada en el brusco matorral
de mi jardín salvaje,
campana verde, herida,
hunde sus cicatrices en la hierba:
no llama a nadie más, no se congrega
junto a su copa verde
más que una mariposa que palpita
sobre el metal caído y vuela huyendo
con alas amarillas.


Comments always are welcome.
The poem is taken from The Sea and the Bell, written during Neruda’s last year of life and translated by William O’Daly.
For more history of the Moon Lake Casino and an account of my visit there, see my current post at The Task at Hand, titled “Moon Lake Legacies.”